24
April 2018

This will be a continuing series of blog posts that exposes the raw ego, naked agony, and rare raptures associated with designing a live action role playing event, The Dreamlands, from scratch. Part I can be read here, and Part II can be read here. I hope this collection of self-reflections serves you as either an inspirational anthem or a cautionary tale of dire warning—it might be both.

Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster. –Sun Tzu

I am not clever. I am also lazy and seek the path of least resistance. As a larp designer, that usually spells “C-R-A-P-P-Y-G-A-M-E.” However, I’ve learned a neat trick to cover the tracks of my rampaging simplicity: let the PCs stomp each other.

PvP means “Player versus Player” and is a term that, according to Wikipedia, developed out of the early computer game Multi-User Dungeons, or MUDs—the precursors to MMORPGs. In a PvP game, players could attack and kill other players and take their stuff. Why fight the dragon yourself when some other shmuck can burn mana and healing potions in an attempt to wipe out a magnificent creature? Just wait until he limps back to town and grief him (another MUD term) outside the tavern.

PvP is usually contrasted with PvE, or “Player versus Environment,” where players for the most part cooperate to defeat the baddies generated by the plot/programmers/GMs. Most fantasy boffer campaigns are rigidly PvE, though of course there are exceptions, both overall and on occasion.

I have problems with both approaches, and don’t (usually) like either in the larps I craft.IMG_5956

First, I define PvP literally: one real person is actively trying to damage or ruin the larp experience of another real person. That’s frakked up. The equivalent is someone showing off their new cool homemade boffer sword, and another person breaking it in two. There’s no reason for that except to make the maker upset. I can understand why so many larps have laws forbidding PvP, or, if allowed, have many caveats, precautions, and Plot team permissions. Taken literally, I don’t recommend PvP in any larp event, though perhaps in some of the larp battle sports such as Amtgard, Belegarth, Darkon, or Dagorhir, none of which I have played, PvP might be de rigueur.

Instead, I like to encourage—as I am doing for The Dreamlands—Player WITH Player interactions. The real human beings, the players, should work together to bring about the best experience possible—this experience doesn’t have to be “fun” in the traditional sense (see my “No Fun” article here), but it should be satisfying. I want to support “Player Character versus Player Character” or PC vs. PC.

I have no problem with other characters coming after my character. I would especially appreciate knowing about the target on my back ahead of time, either via my character’s backstory or a moment of metagaming with my nemesis’s player. How much more dramatic would a larp be if you knew your real life BFF’s rogue was gunning for your mage?

I propose the following advantages to a PC vs PC larp:

  • Unpredictability, surprises
  • Heightened emotions, enhanced experience, strong possibility of bleed
  • Additional depth to plot devices/encounters/mods
  • Consequences for bad behavior—piss someone off often enough, they’ll frag you

And my favorite as an un-clever and lazy larp designer:

  • Players make the plot for you!

IMG_3481I can’t come up with enough mods, crunchies, or puzzles to entertain every player every instant for the duration of the larp, much less execute them all to perfection. Sure, I could recruit additional designers and staff, but we’ll always be outnumbered by the players and therefore, like computer virus protection, defense is always behind the offense. Although not impossible, I think it’s prohibitively difficult for a few designers to keep a group of larpers entertained every second of the event, and I can’t imagine keeping up that level of quality across a campaign. That’s why I prefer to enlist the talents and creativity of the players themselves; with Player With Player and PCvPC, two players can create an amazing plotline that ties with the other threads I spun. Their idea might be something I never would have considered.

Allowing for characters to conflict—and this conflict may range from slander to slaughter—is an intrinsic motivation, generated by the PC herself, and therefore trumps the extrinsic motivations of a “Quest Board” or other mods dropped by Plot to keep PCs entertained. Give the PCs the ability to entertain themselves, even if it means combat between them.

I believe that many interesting moments are lost when characters are forbidden from attacking one another, and I think extremely powerful live action role playing experiences can be heightened if the players work together beforehand or during the larp to at least explain, warn, or perhaps even loosely plan their blood feud. This is how Houses of the Blooded operates, and I think it works quite well. Mind’s Eye Theatre’s Vampire: The Masquerade has made a fortune over fighting PCs.

I think PvE has its share of problems as well, though not nearly as bad as literal PvP.

It’s not an environment that the players are up against; it’s real human beings on the Plot Design team. PvE should literally mean, “The wind blew my tent down.” What we’re really talking about is Players vs GMs, or PvGM (what an annoying abbreviation).

Aside from my personal inability to produce enough Environment to fight 30+ people all day and night, I suspect even those GMs who are genius enough to do so can’t reliably repeat: they get predictable, which potentially leads to familiarity and boredom as plots are repeated with different faces, e.g.: “Oh no! Undead are attacking the town again!” Moreover, a direct Player versus GM conflict can lead to frustration and anger.Loose_lips_might_sink_ships

I was in the Starship Valkyrie theater-style sci-fi larp campaign for almost three years. My character leveled up from squad commander to Captain of his own ship. In the last few games of the campaign, I deliberately avoided telling the Plot team what I was going to do, where I wanted to go, what kind of mission I wanted to undertake. Why? Because if I told Plot what I wanted to do, I was telling the enemy, the environment, the aliens. Loose lips…

But this caused problems for Plot because they needed to recruit NPCs, build props, etc., for each game. Without input, they were hard pressed to assemble each event. But by giving input, I sabotaged my character’s agency and jeopardized the crew’s safety. Since Starship Valkyrie functions as a cooperative game, my opponent was always, ultimately, the Game Master, and I grew weary of the same lunges, parries, thrusts and dodges. I don’t believe that Players versus GMs, a.k.a. PvE, is always the optimum setup and style for all larps.

  • I am not saying that all larps must have (player) Character versus Character elements.
  • I am not saying that a larp with character infighting is better than a larp without.
  • I am saying I prefer players to work on plots and conflicts together, at least vaguely, and the characters to fight—sometimes to the death—in larps I design. This is merely personal preference.
  • I am saying I want The Dreamlands to be a Player with Player with Designer situation, and that I hope some players will decide to try some Character versus Character conflict and even combat. I am not requiring it, but it will spice up the larp and spare me the chore of throwing random encounters at players.

I trust that my players are intelligent, creative humans who can maturely handle infighting between them. This may not be true with your larp group. Sometimes, a line course (railroad plot), with characters forced to cooperate is fine, like at a convention or similar situation where players don’t  know one another. Transparency and communication is the skeleton key to avoid emotional injury.

I believe larp is a communal storytelling art form, and it takes a community to tell the best tales. If I want to tell my own story, where my players do what I want, I’ll write a novel.

 

What do you think? Do you prefer PC-cooperative or PC-competitive larps? Do you talk to other  players about conflicts between your characters? If you are a larpwright, do you allow your characters to fight and even possibly kill each other? Why or why not? Comment below.

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20 Comments

  1. Diakos July 2, 2013 1:47 PM

    “PC-cooperative or PC-competitive larps?”

    Why should they be mutually exclusive?
    Factions competing for control, resources and fame, yet from time to time a faction may gain the upper hand and force the lesser houses must choose whether to submit or unite in opposition.

    Now round here we don’t really have NPC’s, our “monsters” are player character with levels and background as well.

    Reply
  2. Aaron V July 2, 2013 2:02 PM

    They shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, but I think many larpers believe in the extremes, one or the other.

    For the Dreamlands, I won’t have NPCs either (which is the #1 question I am asked, if they can NPC for it). But that’s another column for another time.

    Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Corbin July 2, 2013 2:33 PM

    Aaron,
    1) I’m curious that you consider bleed to be a good thing. I’m curious if we are even using the same meaning. Especially in a CvC in my experience bleed is what tends to move it from CvC to PvP.
    2) I’ve not played Valkyrie(lack of time rather then lack of interest) but by withholding information from plot, are you not causing the PvGM? When I create a character I deliberately work with the games GM to add hooks, areas for bad things, ways to challenge my character. when I GM for pen and paper games I beg the same. If you give a GM nothing to work with, are you not limiting them to what story they can tell? only the most basic and bland?
    I’m totally not understanding, the examples your using seem to be the oposit of what you are saying.

    Reply
    • Aaron V July 2, 2013 5:49 PM

      Hey Corbin

      Bleed: I use the Nordic definition (the link above), and although it can be bad or good, in general I like some bleed in the larps I participate in. Yes, it absolutely can bring a CvC to PvP, aka, “bleed out”. So, too, can PvP lead to CvC, or “bleed in.” I think the way to handle this is for the players to talk to one another (metagaming) about it, so it’s not a random attack: players communicate their differences, and so there’s a buffer between them that says “I as a person am not against you, but my character is.” If the larp is transparently CvC and NOT PvP, I would hope that players would know that the backstab in the middle of the forest was nothing personal.

      Valkyrie: I didn’t start out withholding information, but after being burned once, I didn’t want to do it again. I felt that I didn’t have enough agency for my character, although it was a military situation, so how much autonomy do we really have? But I got tired of jumping through hoops, even if the GM would ask me what color I wanted the hoop to be. I was not the only one feeling this way; when we other players started talking on our own, we were plotting ways to, er, take over the plot. Realize, too, that there are different amounts of information. I said, for example, that I wanted to take down one of the BBGs (Big Bad Guys) in the campaign. However, when I was prodded on how to do that, I was revealing trade secrets. So I don’t think I caused PvGM, but I certainly raised the stakes in the battle.

      I am not blameless in this by any stretch. The GM did nothing objectively wrong, but I tired of that play style. That was also part of it: after three years, accepting random missions that were generated by Plot dragged on me.

      Finally, I didn’t make my character, the GMs did. He had a three sentence background. I made the most of it as I could.

      Thanks for reading and replying, I hope that clarifies things for you. I am not saying I am right, I just want to raise awareness of this issue and explain how I am handling it for The Dreamlands.

      Reply
  4. Mark Menscdh July 2, 2013 4:35 PM

    It’s strange. During the PwP part, you strongly suggest sharing all information in order to know what badness may be coming your way but in PvGM, you advocate not informing those who would assemble such forces know anything about your intentions.

    First, your definition of PvP as “one real person is actively trying to damage or ruin the larp experience of another real person” is not the popular one and is, in fact, the first time I’ve heard it defined this way in all 20+ years of my LARPing. It is where one CHARACTER may act against another character in order to attain the first character’s goals.

    Any actions a player takes simply to ruin other player’s enjoyment should be dealt with immediately, and I have removed such players from my games. However, if the character has a reason to have such a grudge, so be it. I do not believe that a player should though inform the other player about it if they have a reason to keep silent.

    For example, a low level character has decided that a high level character has wronged him and he wants to seek revenge. Informing the player of that high level character now has him know that there’s a weaker person who may become a problem and could then take him out. In fact, it was such a situation that snowballed into me getting blacklisted from a game.

    Your term of PwP is what is generally assumes as PvE. They use MMO terminology here. Players interact with one another and work cooperatively to overcome the designed trials that the GM’s have laid out for you.

    A very clever GM is able to spin a story that allows the players to interact with one another, whether peaceably or through conflict, without any need for their interaction. It causes the game to grow naturally and can take turns that even the designers may never had seen coming. As it is brought to life by your customers, it usually will be something that your customers want.

    Many of the largest games in the UK/Europe area are PvP styles – with clans and other groups that have to often vie for the same goals – and has literally thousands of people showing up for them. They’ve got to be doing something right.

    Reply
    • Aaron V July 2, 2013 7:17 PM

      Hey Mark

      Thanks for reading an commenting. I think you misinterpreted a lot of what I wrote, so I will try to clarify here.

      “During the PwP part, you strongly suggest sharing all information in order to know what badness may be coming your way but in PvGM, you advocate not informing those who would assemble such forces know anything about your intentions.”

      Right. When you work with other players and GM, you can share information. In PvGM, you are NOT sharing information. Any time there is a “versus”, there are people resisting one another. I don’t like larps where the real players or the real GMs are fighting, I like the conflict to be in the fiction.

      “First, your definition of PvP as “one real person is actively trying to damage or ruin the larp experience of another real person” is not the popular one and is, in fact, the first time I’ve heard it defined this way in all 20+ years of my LARPing. It is where one CHARACTER may act against another character in order to attain the first character’s goals.”

      You’re right. I haven’t heard it defined that way in all my 25+ years of larping either. I just came up with it based on my musing as I was thinking about The Dreamlands. More on this in a bit…

      “Any actions a player takes simply to ruin other player’s enjoyment should be dealt with immediately, and I have removed such players from my games. However, if the character has a reason to have such a grudge, so be it. I do not believe that a player should though inform the other player about it if they have a reason to keep silent.”

      The problem here is how to separate the actions of the Player from the Character. How do you parse “a reason to have a grudge” and players that create such grudges so they can get revenge on a player they don’t like? How do you separate players going into a larp just waiting for an excuse to grief another? Again, as I state in the article, I don’t think Players versus Players is recommended, though some events walk that line (the battle games I mentioned). For Vampire and the European fest games you mention, I don’t think it’s PvP as much as CvC–usually.

      “For example, a low level character has decided that a high level character has wronged him and he wants to seek revenge. Informing the player of that high level character now has him know that there’s a weaker person who may become a problem and could then take him out. In fact, it was such a situation that snowballed into me getting blacklisted from a game.”

      That’s so sad. So the high level character decided to use that out of game knowledge against the character? Did the low level player want to be taken out?

      The reason why I want a new definition is because I want to separate the actions of players from the actions of characters. I don’t see players as their characters, and vice versa. They’re close, but not the same.

      “Your term of PwP is what is generally assumes as PvE. They use MMO terminology here. Players interact with one another and work cooperatively to overcome the designed trials that the GM’s have laid out for you.”

      And here’s the rub: using MMO terminology, which is what I also have a problem with–assuming that larps are simply MMORPGs with costumes and foam swords. They can be, but that’s not what I want, at least not for The Dreamlands.
      My suggestion of PwP is that players can COMPETE as characters against one another, creating their own plots, and the GMs don’t have to lay anything out (well, maybe some weapons and a shield). I think PwP is different than PvE. Again, when there is a “v” in there, a “versus”, it means that there is an antagonistic relationship between the sides. To me, at least. Whether it’s the real players (which I think is usually bad) or the “environment”, because that’s the GM. My example shows me fighting against the “E” itself, the GM.

      “A very clever GM is able to spin a story that allows the players to interact with one another, whether peaceably or through conflict, without any need for their interaction. It causes the game to grow naturally and can take turns that even the designers may never had seen coming. As it is brought to life by your customers, it usually will be something that your customers want.”

      Also more of the rub. For one, I’m not clever, as I said in my first sentence. But yes, my ideal is to lay out a sandbox so the players can make their stories.

      I do NOT, however, consider players to be “customers” unless they are paying me beyond expenses. As I said somewhere else, I think the new definition of PC is “paying customer”. Most people are fine with that, but for most larps, I’m not. I’ll be talking about this more in a future column.

      All of these design articles are meant to be behind the scenes looks at my creative process for the Dreamlands larp in November. This is all my thought process, my thinking. I am quite aware that I am far outside the norm of mainstream American larps, which is fine. That’s why I say that these articles could be inspiration or cautionary tales.

      Thanks for your comments, it’s good to hear from you, I hope all is well.

      Reply
      • Mark Mensch July 2, 2013 10:46 PM

        The higher level character’s player was upset that he was asked to stay out of the loop of the lower level character’s action choices – assuming being labeled a metagamer (Using out of game knowledge in game). My argument that if someone was to ask him (as a rules person) if a trap on a door that is warded would work against the one opening it, then he would naturally look for such a trap while playing (the old “don’t think about a pink elephant” problem). By the time the yelling stopped, I was banned from the game for causing a disruption.

        A good GM/referee can tell the difference between the actions of a character and a player. Most characters have established backgrounds and you can see when they operate outside of their normal actions and backgrounds.

        I use the term ‘customers’ as I do see LARP as a business. If you are receiving money, be it in dues, just to cover expenses, etc. Then it is a business. If you’re an LLC, then you’re definitely a business and those that attend are customers. You can feel free to label them as you like: players, patrons, club members but they’re also customers. A LARP provides a service, be it entertainment, education or other.

        BTW, I apologize for the brevity of my comments. There’s a lot going on ATM. I’m glad to see that you’re still going strong with you getting your game together and I wish you the best. Since I won’t be a customer, I can attend for free, right? 🙂

        Reply
        • Aaron V July 2, 2013 11:59 PM

          We have our disagreements, Mark, which is great. Some larps can be a business (I started an educational larp corporation), and some are not (The Dreamlands is not). I think it’s wrong to assume that all larps are businesses, and are players are customers. That service model doesn’t work for me.

          Starship Valkyrie is a business, that’s what the GM does for a living. It wasn’t what I wanted: the idea that I pay money and the GM will entertain me with encounters, plot, villains, etc. I’ll examine this in a future column.

          I am not saying I *NEVER* want to pay to be entertained, or that larps where people pay to be entertained (that’s PvE to me) are better or worse than not, nor that my way is the right way, it’s just my way, and that’s how I view, approach, and run MOST larp events, but not all. I have a paying gig in a few weeks, where my players are customers. I know the difference, and I know that there is a difference. I am not sure other people do.

          Just because people pay doesn’t mean they are customers. If I have to pay for my own larp (props, food, etc.), then am I a customer?

          Reply
          • Mark Mensch July 3, 2013 12:34 AM

            Yup, we’ll disagree here. LARPs are a business. They need to be treated as such else you get shoddy games. Whether you want to believe you’re running your game as a business or not is up to you. However, what you are doing is no different than any other business that needs to deal with logistics, overhead expenses, rentals, purchases and eventually taking in monies to pay for it.

            Larpgirl poo poos on people who treat it as such and assume that you get crap for your money as all these larger games care about is the bottom line. In truth, many of these LARPs have come through many, many years of business practices and learning what their players prefer, what pitfalls may happen and how to avoid them. Some of that money goes to insurance (which I’d bet the smaller clubs don’t have) so that if by some strange occurrence, someone breaks their leg and don’t have medical coverage, they can have paid medical help without having to result to a lawsuit.

            Production costs money. If you want to hold events in local parks and deal with kids on swings while you try to recreate a fantasy realm, go for it. But production values cost cash. Sometimes people are well enough off to constantly operate at a significant loss. Most people can’t do that. So money does come into it. A one shot game you do once a year – it’s a different kettle than those who like to run episodic games.

            One of the issues is that people keep on trying to come up with new definitions and new ways of explaining things and that’s fine. Heck I kept calling my LARP “Interactive Theater” because I didn’t like being lumped into the LARP crowd. But a rose by any other name is still a rose.

          • Aaron V July 3, 2013 1:10 AM

            Total disagreement, yes.

            Larps CAN be a business, but they don’t have to be.
            If someone doesn’t want to make money on a larp, and charges nothing, is it not a larp? Is it not a GOOD larp? It seems you are assuming that a larp has to be run as a business to be either a larp or a good larp? It seems you are assuming that people have to spend money to create a fantasy realm for a larp. Must a larp be fantasy oriented?

            In my mind, the Stanford Prison Experiment was a larp, but not a business. In my mind, Fort Irwin’s National Training Center is a larp, but not a business. In my mind, two kids playing cops and robbers is a larp, but not a business.

            The problem I have with larp as business is that the larp has to keep the customers happy to have them return and thus stay in business. They have to appeal to the largest audience, the most people, which can lead to a “lowest common denominator” mentality. That means, for example, that the larp won’t kill characters, at least not arbitrarily. That’s not the kind of larp I want. I don’t want to play a larp–at least not on a continual basis–where I have little to no chance of dying, where a “PC glow” surrounds me. I also don’t really cotton to larps (or RPGs) where the longer I play, the better I get. I don’t like level advancement. Although that is a very rare view, it is not unique to me. There are a few others in the world (maybe just a few thousand, but we’re growing) who agree with me.

            In America, the tradition is to have long running soap larp-operas (larperas?) where a character keeps coming back and over and over again. I know people who have played the same character for 15 years or longer, and that kind of freaks me out. If it makes them satisfied, that’s fine, but that’s not me, and that won’t be the Dreamlands. I will do an article later on about the “In addition to, not instead of” idea–I am not out to replace anyone’s larp or larp process. I am out to make more and different, and to encourage the same. I think the world can handle a few more non-traditional larps.

            “A one shot game you do once a year – it’s a different kettle than those who like to run episodic games.”
            Are you suggesting that one shot larps like the one I am doing is inferior to episodics? (BTW, I hope the Dreamlands becomes episodic–once a year. My inspiration is Burning Man and Labyrinth of Jareth, the latter of which is run very much like a business, though not a successful one).
            Are you suggesting that one shots can’t be run like a business?
            How do you mean that one shots are a different kettle? Are they not a business? Not a larp?

            “One of the issues is that people keep on trying to come up with new definitions and new ways of explaining things and that’s fine…But a rose by any other name is still a rose.”

            I don’t understand that comment, sorry. Are you saying that there is no progress, no changes to live action role playing? That it is a static endeavor, without shifts or trends or “the new”?

            I wrote this particular column because I see a strong aversion in traditional American boffer larp campaigns to avoid characters attacking one another, especially killing one another. I wanted to reframe the argument to get a better perspective on it, hence, CvC, PwP, etc. My words didn’t work for you–no worries. It worked for me and helped me understand better what I enjoy about larps and what I want to do in larps I design, like The Dreamlands. Which is what this series is about: an inside look to my creative process. As I say at the outset of every article, people may read it and think “Huh, wow! Interesting, I want to ruminate or try that,” or they may read it and think “Oh dear God no!” and stay away. Either way is fine.

            Thanks for the comments, again!

    • Aaron V July 2, 2013 8:03 PM

      I just watched this video from the LarpGirl, which talks about business larps vs. club larps, and I think relates to your comment about “customers.”

      Personally, I don’t see one as inherently better than another, I just have my preferences as do others (as does Larpgirl).

      http://youtu.be/1qp6LKhK7ZY

      Reply
      • Mark Mensch July 2, 2013 10:31 PM

        Yup, if you follow what Larpgirl says, you are right. I personally do not agree with half of the stuff she mentions (not just in this video but others as well). Businesses want to make sure everyone is safe and use “Overly safe practices”. Yup, I want to play in a game where safety isn’t one of the main focuses they have. And she’s in for a surprise if she thinks a club won’t get sued.

        She’s very tunnel visioned with her side of things. So I don’t see her as an expert just someone who has the time to put forth her views online. She’s definitely one of those who think that her’s is the best. Just listen to her last comment about her practices are better than others.

        Reply
        • Aaron V July 3, 2013 12:06 AM

          Funny, I agree with most of what the Larp Girl says. Yes, she likes her way the best. But my interpretation of your own words is that you think your practices are better than others, like mine. Pot, meet kettle. 😉

          It reminds me of Mike Young’s Five Stages of Larp Group Development. I’m sure this will piss even more people off, but I have found it to be true in my experience. I do my best to be stage five, but I know I fail. That’s why I am running the Dreamlands; I want to make a fantasy boffer larp. I am trying to play as many larps as I can, but I don’t often have the time; my larp business is taking up a lot of it. Anyway, here are Mike Young’s Five Stages of Larp Group Development. Get your flamethrowers primed.

          1. Ours in the *ONLY* LARP. (This was far more prevalent before the Internet).

          2. Ours is the *best* LARP. (The larper has a strong attraction to the game he started playing and just assumes that all others are inherently inferior. MANY LARPers never get past stage 2. Really.)

          3. There are other LARPs out there, but I prefer this one. (The LARPer has recognized that the “bestness” of his LARP is due to personal preference. The rest of the majority of LARPers hit this stage and stop).

          4. I enjoy playing many different LARPs. (This one is rare, but is becoming more common. You may find someone who will play, say Vampire and Cthulhu Live, or two different types of boffer LARPs. You’ll still find damn few people who will play Mind’s Eye Theatre and NERO)

          5. I not only enjoy many different LARPs, I actively seek out and try to find new LARPs to play to expand my experience. (Very rare).

          Reply
          • Mark Mensch July 3, 2013 12:20 AM

            I agree with you, Aaron. It is up to the individuals as to what they want, like and prefer. I do not know Larpgirl’s background but from the few videos of her’s I’ve watched, she ran into a game like Alliance, decided that she didn’t like the big games and became a proponent of the smaller ones. With your five stages, she’s at stage 2 and will stay there. I can’t take anything such a person says with real meat to it because they don’t explore beyond their preconceptions of everything else.

            I do not think mine are the best. I believe that certain ideas work within certain criteria. I’m usually going with the general idea of what is accepted as LARPs in the US currently. I’m not focused on a small area but the whole of the US and have to look towards their designs.

          • Aaron V July 3, 2013 12:41 AM

            I know Larp Girl, she’ll be on the Comic-Con panel with me. I invited her. I know she is open to other larps, and I told her (repeatedly) to try other ones, which she has done. I ask everyone to do that, to try theater style, experimental, boffer, etc.

            I agree that certain ideas work in certain circles, and with certain people. But, unlike others, I don’t think that any one idea or circle is objectively better, it all depends on the person participating and even the context of the larp.

            Just like music, larp has trends or styles rise and fall, are appropriated or subsumed, forgotten, resurrected, dusted off and claimed as novel, etc.

            Personally, I am trying to go with the general idea of what is accepted as larps in the world currently. I’m not focused on one country but the whole of the world (and throughout time) and have to look towards all their designs (and I do mean ALL). 😉

          • Mark Mensch July 3, 2013 12:48 AM

            For the record, I look at all LARPs throughout the world. However as I am not helping nor running games elsewhere other than the US, I look towards that market as to what the players enjoy.

            It’s interesting that you invited her onto the panel, being one that you agree with alot, but not me, someone whom shares only a few points. I’d almost call bias but since I don’t know everyone on the panel, I can’t do that. Have a good one, I’m off to bed and done with my comments on these topics.

            Good luck on your endeavors!

          • Aaron V July 3, 2013 1:24 AM

            (when you get this in the morning) 😉

            Since you are looking at larps around the world but concentrating on the U.S., have you noticed differences between them? If so, do you see any of th differences creeping over here from the world, or American ideas sliding over to them? Can you do a paper about it for the Wyrd Con Companion Book?

            “It’s interesting that you invited her onto the panel, being one that you agree with alot, but not me, someone whom shares only a few points. I’d almost call bias but since I don’t know everyone on the panel, I can’t do that. ”

            1. I don’t agree with her completely. She blocked me from commenting on her videos because I said things that upset her. But I have been reinstated now.
            2. I didn’t invite you because I didn’t even think of you. This was about two months ago that I set the panel up. Don’t feel too bad, there are A LOT of people that I didn’t invite.
            3. It’s totally biased. I invited whom I wanted, it’s my panel. It’s a good thing I invited ANYONE and just don’t ramble on all by myself for an hour. 😉
            4. The other panelists are:
            Ira Ham, Lisa Schaefer, Nick Baumann, and two of the Larping.org guys, Tom and Dave.
            5. You should pitch your own larp panel next year, and then if you get it you can invite whomever you want. I mean, think of it like a business: how can you knock out your competition?

            Good night, happy 4th!

  5. Jared Hansen July 2, 2013 4:44 PM

    I am of the view that a characters actions could and should always have global influence and consequence. By this I mean, that while we larp, we collaboratively join in and influence a story. Our own decisions should have effects which ripple back to GM structured plot and vice versa. This is a holistic world view on conflict, action and consequence.
    So this naturally includes the prospect of one character killing another one as part of the overall ever evolving story. I would EXPECT another player to make his actions his characters actions only while within the construct of the larp.
    If this isn’t the case then the other player is simply breaking the social mandate which I feel should be explicit and expected within a larp. Of course people are just people so this doesn’t always happen. Having a code of conduct within your larp structure is needed for this reason, otherwise it generally comes down to the dead characters player and the GM team to sort out. And if the structure of the game makes one responsible for ones actions then murder will not go unpunished… only a game or 2 ago the total player character group watched on at the execution of a character who had been tried and found guilty. Possibly one of my favourite larping moments ever and one everyone was happy with, including the player of the deceased.

    Reply
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